HTTP Responses

Basic Responses

Of course, all routes and controllers should return some kind of response to be sent back to the user's browser. Lumen provides several different ways to return responses. The most basic response is simply returning a string from a route or controller:

$router->get('/', function () {
    return 'Hello World';

The given string will automatically be converted into an HTTP response by the framework.

Response Objects

However, for most routes and controller actions, you will be returning a full Illuminate\Http\Response instance. Returning a full Response instance allows you to customize the response's HTTP status code and headers. A Response instance inherits from the Symfony\Component\HttpFoundation\Response class, providing a variety of methods for building HTTP responses:

use Illuminate\Http\Response;

$router->get('home', function () {
    return (new Response($content, $status))
                  ->header('Content-Type', $value);

For convenience, you may also use the response helper:

$router->get('home', function () {
    return response($content, $status)
                  ->header('Content-Type', $value);

Note: For a full list of available Response methods, check out its API documentation and the Symfony API documentation.

Attaching Headers To Responses

Keep in mind that most response methods are chainable, allowing for the fluent building of responses. For example, you may use the header method to add a series of headers to the response before sending it back to the user:

return response($content)
            ->header('Content-Type', $type)
            ->header('X-Header-One', 'Header Value')
            ->header('X-Header-Two', 'Header Value');

Or, you may use the withHeaders method to specify an array of headers to be added to the response:

return response($content)
                'Content-Type' => $type,
                'X-Header-One' => 'Header Value',
                'X-Header-Two' => 'Header Value',

Other Response Types

The response helper may be used to conveniently generate other types of response instances. When the response helper is called without arguments, an implementation of the Laravel\Lumen\Http\ResponseFactory class is returned. This class provides several helpful methods for generating responses.

JSON Responses

The json method will automatically set the Content-Type header to application/json, as well as convert the given array into JSON using the json_encode PHP function:

return response()->json(['name' => 'Abigail', 'state' => 'CA']);

You can optionally provide a status code and an array of additional headers:

return response()->json(['error' => 'Unauthorized'], 401, ['X-Header-One' => 'Header Value']);

If you would like to create a JSONP response, you may use the json method in addition to setCallback:

return response()
            ->json(['name' => 'Abigail', 'state' => 'CA'])

File Downloads

The download method may be used to generate a response that forces the user's browser to download the file at the given path. The download method accepts a file name as the second argument to the method, which will determine the file name that is seen by the user downloading the file. Finally, you may pass an array of HTTP headers as the third argument to the method:

return response()->download($pathToFile);

return response()->download($pathToFile, $name, $headers);

Note: Symfony HttpFoundation, which manages file downloads, requires the file being downloaded to have an ASCII file name.


Redirect responses are instances of the Illuminate\Http\RedirectResponse class, and contain the proper headers needed to redirect the user to another URL. There are several ways to generate a RedirectResponse instance. The simplest method is to use the global redirect helper method:

$router->get('dashboard', function () {
    return redirect('home/dashboard');

Redirecting To Named Routes

When you call the redirect helper with no parameters, an instance of Laravel\Lumen\Http\Redirector is returned, allowing you to call any method on the Redirector instance. For example, to generate a RedirectResponse to a named route, you may use the route method:

return redirect()->route('login');

If your route has parameters, you may pass them as the second argument to the route method:

// For a route with the following URI: profile/{id}

return redirect()->route('profile', ['id' => 1]);

If you are redirecting to a route with an "ID" parameter that is being populated from an Eloquent model, you may simply pass the model itself. The ID will be extracted automatically:

return redirect()->route('profile', [$user]);